Joy: 1 a very glad feeling; happiness; great pleasure; delight
2 anything causing such feeling
3 the expression of showing such feeling
Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition
As disciples of Jesus, we are sent to wherever there is poverty, loneliness, suffering of any kind. We are given the courage to be with suffering people. We can trust that by entering into places of pain, we will find the joy of Jesus. A new world grows out of compassion.
We are caught in an absurd, materialistic spiral. The more we make, the more we need to live decently and respectably. Somehow we have to break this cycle because it makes us sin against our needy brothers and, therefore, against our Lord. And it also destroys us. Sharing with others is the way to real joy.
It seems paradoxical that joy can be found by entering into the pain and suffering of another. Our concept of joy is usually that of the definition given above, a personal feeling of great happiness, almost of ecstasy. But perhaps a better definition of joy would be a sense of completion, a sense of closing a circle and alleviating the pain and suffering of another. What could make one happier than to see another person’s life situation changed and improved by one’s efforts? True joy can only come from the compassion one exercises towards others who are in need of our help and it is true joy because it is joy shared with another. Feelings of great happiness experienced by a person personally but not derived by showing compassion and love towards another is not true joy since it is not shared. The gospels are replete with God’s healing ministry during his earthly sojourn. Imagine the joy imparted to those who were healed of their afflictions and our Lord, being fully human in everything but sin, surely derived a sense of joy at being able to alleviate the suffering of others. That is true joy; joy shared by the person who loves and out of compassion helps another and by the person who is being helped. All too often we turn away from persons who seek a compassionate response and in so doing deprive them and ourselves of mutual joy. The joy of the giver is rooted in the words adamantly spoken by our Lord, “What you do to the least of these My little ones you do to Me.” The joy in the receiver derives from the fact that he is loved, is respected as a child of God, and has found hope. Shared joy is true joy.
Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
It is a simple thing: joy in everything that lives. Anyone who can rejoice in life, in other people, in the fellowship of church community – anyone who feels joy in the mutual relationships of trust and inner fellowship – such a person experiences what love is. Anyone who cannot feel joy cannot love….Only where there is joy do love and justice dwell. We need the spirit of joy to overcome the gloomy spirit of covetousness, the spirit of unjust mammon and its deadly hate.
The most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold on to.
Our home for children rings with joy. Our volunteers and employees give totally of themselves in the care of our children and the children, in receiving the attention, rise above their discomforts and pain, and feel wanted and loved. We share our mutual joy with their parents who are grateful for our efforts on behalf of their children.
O Lord, infuse the world with joy, the joy of mutual love, mutual understanding, mutual compassion. Instill in us the desire to engender joy in the circumstances of our daily lives, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, in the world. In so doing we find You since joy is the infallible sign of Your presence.
We thank you for your support of our children. We love you and wish you God’s peace.
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